PROTECTION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY
39-11-614 PROCTECTION OF PROPERTY
(a) A person in lawful possession of real or personal property is justified in threatening
or using force against another when and to the degree it is reasonably believed the
force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other's tresspass on the
land or unlawful interference with the property.
(b) A person who has been unlawfully dispossessed of real or personal property is
justified in threatening or using force against the other when and to the degree
it is reasonably believed the force is immediately necessary to reenter the land
or recover the property if the person threatens or uses the force immediately or
in fresh pursuit after the dispossession; and:
(1) The person reasonably believes the other had no claim of right when the other
dispossessed the person; and
(2) The other accomplished the dispossession by threatening or using force against
(c) A person is not justified in using deadly force to prevent or terminate the other's
trespass on real estate or unlawful interference with personal property.
(Acts 1989, ch 591 1)
This section affords justification for the defenses of protection of both real and personal
property. This defense is available to all persons "in lawful possession" and thus applies
to owners, lessees, and bailees. The amount of force allowed is limited to that degree of
force reasonably believed to be necessary to terminate the trespass or unlawful interference.
Subsection (b) provides justification for the use of force to reenter land or recapture
property under very limited circumstances. The defendant must use of threaten to use force
immediately after the dispossession and the defendant must reasonably believe the other
person had no right to dispossess the defendant. Further, the dispossession must have
been accomplished by the use of threats or force by the other person. This section is
intended to encourage the resort to legal process to recover property in all circumstances
except those where immediate self help is likely anyway.
Subsection (c) makes it clear deadly force is never justified under this section. Deadly
force may be justified, however, under 39-11-611(b).
Other notes from T.C.A.
A person's intermittently spending the night at a business establishment as part of that
person's part-time employment as a night watchman or security guard does not turn the
establishment into a "residence" as that term is used in this section.
State v. Clinton 880 S.W 2d, 737 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1994)